REVIEW AMERICANA

 

Fall 2008

Volume 3, Issue 2

http://www.americanpopularculture.com/review_americana/fall_2008/mills.htm




JOE MILLS

 

Fear

 

What do you fear? my students ask,
and I think, “Whatever you say
can be used against you,” and I think,
“The ingenuity of students to turn
me away from my prepared lesson,”
and I think, “A student making headlines
with a gun,” and I think, “My children
having children too early or drinking
and driving or doing the stupid things
I did growing up,” but I decide to admit
how I used to be afraid that as I crossed
the street, a car would whiz past and slice
off my kneecaps. I don’t worry about it
as much now that fenders are smooth
and molded, no gaps, no edges, but that’s
also why it’s hard for them to understand,
so I draw a diagram on the board, chalking
a car with old-fashioned bumpers on a road
labeled “F-E-A-R.” A stick figure stands
wide-eyed, his hands over his huge knees.
One student contemplates the sketch
then says, “They’d have to get really close.”
Yes, I nod, that’s it, that’s exactly what I fear,
the crippling closeness of people passing by.

 


 

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